In the spirit of reminiscing over our wedding (ONE YEAR AGO on the 21st! Anniversary month!!!!) and writing about what we would have done DIFFERENTLY if we got to get married all over again, I wanted to write today about what we are SO GLAD we did and wouldn't dream of changing!
Getting ready for the day at my childhood home. There's nothing quite like being in your own stomping grounds, having everything at your disposal that you could possibly need, and immortalizing that precious place in your wedding photos and video. I'm so happy to have footage of our home, photos of our bridal party in our backyard, and to have had the opportunity to get wedding-ready at home. Mom made cinnamon muffins that morning, the dogs were running around terrified (particularly my sweet Zuzu, who didn't make it anywhere on the film or photos since she was hiding all day), and our whole house was a ZOO with people coming in and out and doing all kinds of things. Kind of reminds me of Father of the Bride, which is one of my all-time favorite movies. I tried to convince my wedding fairy godmother to let me change our venue from the stable we got married in to my parents' house a month before the wedding day, but she wouldn't let me (and for good reason -- it was late July, mosquitos were insanely rampant, invitations were already out, and I kept trying to change EVERYTHING last-minute). Even so, I'm still so glad we had the better part of the day to spend at home!
Hiring a kick-A videographer. Oh goodness. We ended up getting the best of all wedding videography worlds, having FocalPoint Cinematic film our wedding day and McNeal Wedding Films edit the final product. It was an unfortunate situation that provided the opportunity, but ended up being such a tremendous blessing, getting to reap the benefits of two awe-inspiringly talented companies. As a very video-centric person (I was the annoying middle schooler who carried her little blue cam-corder EVERYWHERE and created stop-motion animation American Girl Doll dance music videos growing up), I cannot say how happy I am to have the moments of our entire day captured forever for posterity. I love love love our photos, but seeing the moments unfold in their entirety (and remembering exactly WHAT triggered the emotions captured in said photos) is just standalone awesome.
Spending so much on flowers. Originally, when planning our wedding budget, I told Drew that I wanted to spend the most money on the things that would be tangible after the wedding day: our attire, photos, video, etc. I wanted to save on the things that would die or be consumed and gone forever (so, flowers, food, cake, beverages, all that). But then I talked to Hillary. And told her my far-off wedding dreams. And she told me what my wedding COULD be. And all those initial budgetary plans went out the window. Drew and I got into a bit of a scuffle on the way to the mountains one weekend in January after I tried to convince him that we really did need to spend the largest portion of our wedding budget on flowers… But guess who won?! ME! Dahlias, garden roses, astilbe, orchids, and peonies, oh my!!!! Nothing "made" the decor or wedding day aesthetics quite like those stunning florals. The floral arch we stood in front of for the ceremony, and sat below at our sweetheart table…. the brightly colored bridesmaid bouquets…. the centerpieces in pink and green glassware Mom collected the months before our wedding…. Oh, every last detail Hillary put together was pure magic and romance. BEST DECISION EVER.
Prioritizing the cake. As much as I still weep inside at the thought of not getting to try two of the three flavors of wedding cake we served (boo hoo, pistachio cake with chocolate truffle ganache! sob sob sob, european butter cake with raspberry buttercream and lemon curd!), our whole cake was DAMN good. Dulce is the best, hands down. I know I'm opinionated. But seriously. It was gorgeous (simple design but stunning execution), and it was gooooooood. Exhibit A: NOT A SINGLE SLICE WAS LEFT OVER. If there had been, I'd have murdered for it.
Opting for a cake-and-coffee reception rather than a full meal. Originally, we planned to serve a full dinner of chicken & waffles, mini sliders, all kinds of little delicious bites, fancy passed cherry sprites during cocktails and more. It was a lovely idea, but our horrible venue owner/in-house caterer was the world's worst business owner, and we didn't get an initial estimate until A MONTH before the wedding (despite begging for it for six months). Needless to say, we opted to NOT go with that caterer in the end. Instead, wedding fairy godmother Hillary saved the day by suggesting a coffee/espresso bar & dessert option, which ended up being fabulous and delicious and so perfectly "us." We had miniature pies, an ice cream bar, a salty & sweet bar with pretzels and nuts and chips, and, of course, our wedding cake and groom's cheesecakes. Beve Mobile Coffee provided iced and hot coffees and espressos (including a scrumptious raspberry shortbread cappuccino that I consumed copiously) and we even had coffee liqueurs for spiking them. It was such a lovely alternative. If we'd gone with a different venue we might have changed our mind about providing a meal (since we ourselves were starving after the wedding was over), but for the route we went, it was perfect.
Going to hot yoga for the final "fit in the dress" pre-wedding week! Hot yoga has always been a favorite of mine, and it was the perfect solution for my fears of not fitting into the gown. Stress relief + calorie burning + chill time… amazing. I did Fahrenheit Yoga Studio's $10 for 10 days unlimited deal (conveniently started the ten days prior to the wedding), and it was an awesome choice. My dress fit phenomenally, I was zen (if only for a little bit), and totally limber for maximum Wobbling on the dance floor.
I'm also glad we had so many seersucker details (so Southern, so lovely), made sure to incorporate a lot of family mementos (I wore Drew's mom's engagement ring, I had a getaway dress to change into (since my gown got super hot dancing -- and would've been hard to transport home once we got to the hotel), a family bible was our guest book, we followed a lot of family traditions, etc), my parents made so much for the wedding (from cheesecakes to ring boxes and getting-ready robes, they were craftaholics), we had a sparkler exit (conveniently purchased from post-Fourth of July sales), that Drew's fraternity brothers serenaded me with the "Dream Girl" song, that I had THIRTY-something sorority sisters present…. oh, so many things I'm so happy with! Some favorite family members came from across the country (despite health issues and all kinds of things). All of it meant we were surrounded by love from every angle… such a special thing.
It's hard to believe that last year we were less than two weeks away from getting married! So much happens over the course of a year, and everybody tells you it flies by. Especially in comparison to how engagement drones on (Did anyone else feel like that was the second-longest year of their life, second only to the year WAITING to get engaged? Or is that just me?)... marriage flies by. I had been so tunnel-visioned throughout planning our wedding that I missed holidays and seasons and everything else just thinking about July 21st. This year we got to enjoy all those little moments, but they went by at record speed. I can only imagine the same will be said for Year Two. What will happen? Where will we be planning to live come next July? Will we have a new car? Will any of my friends have more babies (!!!!!) ? Will we go on any more trips? Where will we travel to? By our next anniversary, Drew's brother will be married. How will that change (or not change) the dynamics of our family life? It's exciting to think about!